Hong Kong woman tricked out of HK$20,000 in online love scam
Police arrest suspected con artist, a woman who posed as a man, after she transferred money into a local bank account
A 55-year-old woman was arrested on Friday for allegedly posing as a man online and cheating a female victim out of HK$20,000 in the latest round of online love scams in Hong Kong.
Police received a report from the 45-year-old victim, surnamed Law, on Wednesday when she claimed she fell prey to her “boyfriend”, who she met on social media less than a month ago.
The “boyfriend” claimed he would post Law an expensive gift but she had to pay a HK$20,000 delivery cost, according to police.
Law followed the instructions and transferred the money to a local bank account on Tuesday.
“The culprit later said the money was not enough for delivery and asked the victim to deposit money again. Law suspected she might be being scammed and reported the matter to the police,” the force said in a statement on Saturday.
Investigators and officers from the force’s Anti-Deception Coordination Centre contacted the bank involved to freeze the transaction.
The bank then contacted police when the suspect, Kwok, attempted to withdraw money in Cheung Fat Estate in Tsing Yi on Friday evening.
Officers arrived and arrested the woman for obtaining property by deception. They later seized a phone and a computer at her home in Cheung Hung Estate in the same district.
Investigations showed that the suspect was the owner of the bank account. The force believed she disguised herself as the boyfriend in question, or that there might be more con men at large.
Official figures showed that the force received 235 cases involving online romance scams in 2017 which doubled the number of 2016.
Financial losses from such scams climbed 13.5 per cent year-on-year to HK$107.9 million last year.
The police reminded members of public that romance scammers would befriend the victim through online social platforms using false identities.
Once the scammers gained the victim’s trust, they would ask them for money using various excuses.
The force also revealed that females accounted for 95 per cent of the victims and they generally possessed higher academic qualifications and are able to communicate in English.